Nova Scotia’s First Municipal Archives
The Argyle Township Court House Archives was established in 1983 and became the first Municipal Archives in Nova Scotia. The archive was formed around the large body of municipal records that remained in the Argyle Township Court House when the Municipal Offices removed from the building in 1976.
The archives continued to operate from the Court House from 1983 to 2006. In 2000 the Argyle Municipality Historical & Genealogical Society took the bold move of purchasing the former Seventh-Day Adventist church building located on the property to the south of the Court House. The Society’s plan was to ensure that this handsome heritage building in the centre of Tusket would remain a part of the village streetscape by preserving and enhancing the exterior of the building, while transforming the interior into a modern archival facility. The Society sought to fund this project from a variety of sources and work on the project began in October 2005. Throughout the summer and fall of 2006, the archives holdings and furniture were moved from the Court House to the new facility. The archives reopened on 16 November 2006 in the new building, after a closure of only two weeks.
New Archives Building for the Argyle Township Court House Archives
The church building was first constructed in 1877 as a Methodist Church. By 1900 the building consisted of the large main body of the church, with a corner steeple, and a substantial ell that extended from the rear of the main building. This extension was used for church suppers and other similar events. The majority of the original extension was demolished in the 1930’s. In building the new archives it was decided to preserve the exterior of the main body of the church, and to build a new extension on the rear of the building, whose exterior would closely resemble the building as it was in 1900.
The new extension has a full basement, ground floor and an upstairs. The basement contains a large multi-purpose space, a kitchen, electrical room, furnace room and the room that holds the HVAC equipment for maintaining climate control in the vault. There is a room currently used as a utility room that will be developed as a photographic darkroom in the future. The vault takes up the majority of the ground floor of the extension. The second floor of the extension remains unfinished at this time (2007) but will be developed as further office and storage space for the archives.
The Archives Collection
The Argyle Township Court House Archives has as its first responsibility the collection and preservation of the records generated by Argyle Municipality’s municipal government. Our second priority in terms of acquisitions is to collect, preserve and make available to the public any private sector records of archival value generated by the families and communities that make up the Municipality of Argyle in Yarmouth County. These private sector records cover a wide range of material such as genealogies, church records, business records, family papers, institutional records generated by non-profit organisations and much more. We also have an active and aggressive policy of collecting archival photographs from all parts of the municipality, and now have some 50,000 photographs in the collection.
Genealogy and Family History
The Argyle Township Court House Archives has become a major centre for genealogical research. The archive has built a substantial collection of genealogical resource material to service the growing demand by the public. Our holdings include all available census records for all counties in Nova Scotia, as well as Nova Scotia Birth Records (1864-1877), Death Records (1864-1877) and Marriage Records (1864-circa 1910) for the entire province, and much more.
ATCHA has the largest collection of microfilm in this part of Nova Scotia. There is usually a qualified genealogist on hand to assist researchers.
The Argyle Township Court House is also a member of the Southwest Nova Scotia Genealogy Circuit www.swnsroots.ca